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BOZOHTTPD(8) NetBSD System Manager's Manual BOZOHTTPD(8)
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by Kimmo Suominen.
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bozohttpd -- hyper text transfer protocol version 1.1 daemon
bozohttpd [-EGHVXdefhnqsu] [-C suffix cgihandler] [-I port]
[-L prefix script] [-M suffix type encoding encoding11]
[-m version] [-P pidfile] [-R readme] [-S version]
[-T type timeout] [-U username] [-Z cert privkey] [-c cgibin]
[-i address] [-p pubdir] [-t chrootdir] [-v virtualroot]
[-x index] [-z ciphers] slashdir [myname]
The bozohttpd program reads a HTTP request from the standard input, and
sends a reply to the standard output. Besides ~user translation and vir-
tual hosting support (see below), all file requests are from slashdir
directory. The server uses myname as its name, which defaults to the
local hostname, obtained from gethostname(3) (but see the -v option for
virtual hosting.) bozohttpd writes logs to syslog(3) using the ftp
facility (but see the -s option for testing and the -q option for
supressing this.) bozohttpd is designed to be small, simple and rela-
tively featureless, hopefully increasing its security.
The following options are available:
-b Enables daemon mode, where bozohttpd detaches from the current
terminal, running in the background and servicing HTTP
-C suffix cgihandler
Adds a new CGI handler program for a particular file type.
The suffix should be any normal file suffix, and the
cgihandler should be a full path to an interpreter. This
option is the only way to enable CGI programs that exist out-
side of the cgibin directory to be executed. Multiple -C
options may be passed.
-c cgibin Enables the CGI/1.1 interface. The cgibin directory is
expected to contain the CGI programs to be used. bozohttpd
looks for URL's in the form of /cgi-bin/<scriptname> where
<scriptname> is a valid CGI program in the cgibin directory.
In other words, all CGI URL's must begin with /cgi-bin/. Note
that the CGI/1.1 interface is available with ~user translation
using -E switch.
-d Enables debug support.
-E Enables CGI/1.1 interface for ~user translation. Note that
enabling this support implies that users can run commands as
the web server user. This may have security implications.
-e Causes bozohttpd to not clear the environment when used with
either the -t or -U options.
-f Stops the -b flag from detaching bozohttpd from the tty and
going into the background. This implies the -b flag.
-G Get the bozohttpd version string, print it on standard output,
-H Causes directory index mode to hide files and directories that
start with a period, except for ... Also see -X.
-I port Causes bozohttpd to use port instead of the default ``http''
port. When used with the -b option, it changes the bound
port. Otherwise it forces redirections to use this port
instead of the value obtained via getsockname(2).
Causes address to be used as the address to bind daemon mode.
If otherwise unspecified, the address used to bind is derived
from the myname, which defaults to the name returned by
gethostname(3). Only the last -i option is used. This option
is only valid with the -b option.
-L prefix script
Adds a new Lua script for a particular prefix. The prefix
should be an arbitrary text, and the script should be a full
path to a Lua script. Multiple -L options may be passed. A
separate Lua state is created for each prefix. The Lua script
can register callbacks using the httpd.register_han-
dler('<name>', function) Lua function, which will trigger the
execution of the Lua function function when a URL in the form
http://<hostname>/<prefix>/<name> is being accessed. The
function is passed three tables as arguments, the server envi-
ronment, the request headers, and the decoded query string
plus any data that was sent as application/x-www-form-urlen-
-M suffix type encoding encoding11
Adds a new entry to the table that converts file suffixes to
content type and encoding. This option takes four additional
arguments containing the file prefix, its ``Content-Type'',
``Content-Encoding'', and ``Content-Encoding'' for HTTP/1.1
connections, respectively. If any of these are a single dash
(``-''), the empty string is used instead. Multiple -M
options may be passed.
Set the minimum supported SSL protocol version. The valid
values of version are ``TLSv1.1'', ``TLSv1.2'', and
``TLSv1.3''. The default version is ``TLSv1.1''.
-n Stops bozohttpd from doing IP address to name resolution of
remote hosts. This affects the REMOTE_HOST environment vari-
able for CGI programs and Lua scripts.
Causes bozohttpd to create a PID file in pidfile when run in
daemon mode with the -b option.
-p pubdir Changes the default user directory for /~user/ translations
from ``public_html'' to pubdir.
-q Quiet mode - no log entries generated.
-R readme When directory indexing is enabled, include the contents of
the file readme in the footer of the directory index.
Sets the internal server version to version.
-s Forces logging to be set to stderr always.
-T type timeout
Set the timeout for type to timeout. The valid values of type
are ``ssl timeout'', ``initial timeout'', ``header timeout'',
and ``request timeout''. The default values are 30 seconds,
30 seconds, 10 seconds and 600 seconds, respectively.
Makes bozohttpd chroot to the specified directory before
answering requests. Every other path should be specified rel-
ative to the new root, if this option is used. Note that the
current environment is normally replaced with an empty envi-
ronment with this option, unless the -e option is also used.
Causes bozohttpd to switch to the user and the groups of
username after initialization. This option, like -t above,
causes bozohttpd to clear the environment unless the -e option
-u Enables the transformation of Uniform Resource Locators of the
form /~user/ into the directory ~user/public_html (but see the
-p option above).
-V Sets the backup virtual host directory to the slashdir argu-
ment. If no directory exists in virtualroot for the request,
then slashdir will be used. The default behavior is to return
404 (Not Found.)
Enables virtual hosting support. Directories in virtualroot
will be searched for a matching virtual host name, when pars-
ing the HTML request. If a matching name is found, it will be
used as both the server's real name, [myname], and as the
slashdir. See the EXAMPLES section for an example of using
-X Enables directory indexing. A directory index will be gener-
ated only when the default file (i.e. index.html normally) is
-x index Changes the default file read for directories from
``index.html'' to index.
-Z certificate_path privatekey_path
Sets the path to the server certificate file and the private
key file in PEM format. It also causes bozohttpd to start SSL
Sets the list of SSL ciphers (see SSL_CTX_set_cipher_list(3)).
Note that in bozohttpd versions 20031005 and prior that supported the -C
and -M options, they took a single space-separated argument that was
parsed. since version 20040828, they take multiple options (2 in the
case of -C and 4 in the case of -M.)
As bozohttpd uses inetd(8) by default to process incoming TCP connections
for HTTP requests (but see the -b option), bozohttpd has little internal
networking knowledge. (Indeed, you can run it on the command line with
little change of functionality.) A typical inetd.conf(5) entry would be:
http stream tcp nowait:600 _httpd /usr/libexec/httpd httpd /var/www
http stream tcp6 nowait:600 _httpd /usr/libexec/httpd httpd /var/www
This would serve web pages from /var/www on both IPv4 and IPv6 ports.
The :600 changes the requests per minute to 600, up from the inetd(8)
default of 40.
Using the NetBSD inetd(8), you can provide multiple IP-address based HTTP
servers by having multiple listening ports with different configurations.
This server supports the HTTP/0.9, HTTP/1.0, and HTTP/1.1 standards.
Support for these protocols is very minimal and many optional features
are not supported.
bozohttpd can be compiled without CGI support (NO_CGIBIN_SUPPORT), user
transformations (NO_USER_SUPPORT), directory index support
(NO_DIRINDEX_SUPPORT), daemon mode support (NO_DAEMON_MODE), dynamic MIME
content (NO_DYNAMIC_CONTENT), Lua support (NO_LUA_SUPPORT), and SSL sup-
port (NO_SSL_SUPPORT) by defining the listed macros when building
HTTP BASIC AUTHORIZATION
bozohttpd has support for HTTP Basic Authorization. If a file named
.htpasswd exists in the directory of the current request, bozohttpd will
restrict access to documents in that directory using the RFC 2617 HTTP
``Basic'' authentication scheme.
Note: This does not recursively protect any sub-directories.
The .htpasswd file contains lines delimited with a colon containing user
names and passwords hashed with crypt(3), for example:
On NetBSD, the pwhash(1) utility may be used to generate hashed pass-
While bozohttpd distributed with NetBSD has support for HTTP Basic Autho-
rization enabled by default, in the portable distribution it is excluded.
Compile bozohttpd with ``-DDO_HTPASSWD'' on the compiler command line to
enable this support. It may require linking with the crypt library,
On NetBSD, bozohttpd supports blocklistd(8) by default. The support can
be disabled with the ``-DNO_BLOCKLIST_SUPPORT'' compilation option.
Upon occurrence, bozohttpd reports two HTTP status codes to blocklistd(8)
as failures: 401 (``Unauthorized'') and 403 (``Forbidden'') . Of these,
401 is the one received upon authorization failure with the HTTP Basic
Authorization mechanism. A successful authorization decreases the
counter kept by blocklistd(8).
Note that the implementation of the HTTP Basic Authorization mechanism
uses a redirection; a status code 401 is always initially received.
Therefore, a single authorization failure of .htpasswd is reported as two
failures to blocklistd(8), but no failures are recorded upon successful
authorization due to the decrease of the failure counter.
bozohttpd has support for TLSv1.1 and TLSv1.2 protocols that are included
by default. It requires linking with the crypto and ssl library, using
``-lcrypto -lssl''. To disable SSL SUPPORT compile bozohttpd with
``-DNO_SSL_SUPPORT'' on the compiler command line.
To have an enforced redirect, such as http to https, create a shadow
directory root that contains a .bzabsredirect file that points to the
bozohttpd supports a very basic form of compression. bozohttpd will
serve the requested file postpended with ``.gz'' if it exists, it is
readable, the client requested gzip compression, and the client did not
make a ranged request.
bozohttpd looks for a couple of special files in directories that allow
certain features to be provided on a per-directory basis. The .htpasswd
file is used by HTTP basic authorization. If a .bzredirect symbolic link
is found, bozohttpd will perform a smart redirect to the target of this
symlink. The target is assumed to live on the same server. If target
starts with slash then absolute redirection is performed, otherwise it's
handled as relative. If a .bzabsredirect symbolic link is found,
bozohttpd will redirect to the absolute URL pointed to by this symlink.
This is useful to redirect to different servers. Two forms of redirect-
ion are supported - symbolic link without schema will use http:// as
default i.e. link to NetBSD.org will redirect to http://NetBSD.org/ Oth-
erwise provided schema will be used i.e. symbolic link to
ftp://NetBSD.org/ will redirect to the provided URL. If a .bzremap file
is found at the root of a (virtual) server, it is expected to contain re-
write mappings for URLs.
These remappings are performed internally in the server before authenti-
cation happens and can be used to hide implementation details, like the
CGI handler specific suffix for non cgi scripts in authorized directo-
The map file consists of lines two paths separated by a colon, where the
left side needs to exactly match a (sub) path of the request and will be
replaced by the right side.
The first match always wins.
A .bzremap file could look like this:
The remap file should be short, access to it is slow and needs to happen
on each request. If a request path needs to include a colon (:) charac-
ter, it can be escaped with a backslash (\) The right hand side of the
colon is always used verbatim, no escape sequences are interpreted.
To configure set of virtual hosts, one would use an inetd.conf(5) entry
http stream tcp nowait:600 _httpd /usr/libexec/httpd httpd -v /var/vroot /var/www
and inside /var/vroot create a directory (or a symlink to a directory)
with the same name as the virtual host, for each virtual host. Lookups
for these names are done in a case-insensitive manner, and may include
the port number part of the request, allowing for distinct virtual hosts
on the same name.
To use bozohttpd with PHP, one must use the -C option to specify a CGI
handler for a particular file type. Typically this will be like:
httpd -C .php /usr/pkg/bin/php-cgi /var/www
Note that a plain script interpreter can not be used directly as a cgi-
handler, as there are no command line options passed from bozohttpd to
avoid security issues.
If no CGI-aware wrapper exists, a simple shell script like the following
It would be invoked like:
httpd -C .pl /www-scripts/bin/run.perl /var/www
and the script could look like:
if [ -r "$SCRIPT_FILENAME" -a -x "$SCRIPT_FILENAME" ]; then
exec /usr/pkg/bin/perl "$SCRIPT_FILENAME"
bozohttpd was first written in perl, based on another perl http server
called ``tinyhttpd''. It was then rewritten from scratch in perl, and
then once again in C. From ``bozohttpd'' version 20060517, it has been
integrated into NetBSD. The focus has always been simplicity and secu-
rity, with minimal features and regular code audits. This manual docu-
ments bozohttpd version 20230602.
bozohttpd was written by Matthew R. Green <email@example.com>.
The large list of contributors includes:
- Christoph Badura <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided Range: header support
- Marc Balmer <mbalmer@NetBSD.org> added Lua support for dynamic con-
- Sean Boudreau <seanb@NetBSD.org> provided a security fix for virtual
- Julian Coleman <email@example.com> provided an IPv6 bugfix
- Chuck Cranor <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided cgi-bin support fixes,
- Alistair G. Crooks <agc@NetBSD.org> cleaned up many internal inter-
faces, made bozohttpd linkable as a library and provided the Lua
- DEGROOTE Arnaud <degroote@NetBSD.org> provided a fix for daemon mode
- Andrew Doran <ad@NetBSD.org> provided directory indexing support
- Roland Dowdeswell <elric@NetBSD.org> added support for serving
gzipped files and better SSL handling
- Per Ekman <email@example.com> provided a fix for a minor (non-security)
buffer overflow condition
- <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided fixes for some bad request parsing
- Jun-ichiro itojun Hagino, KAME <email@example.com> provided initial
- Martin Husemann <martin@NetBSD.org> provided .bzabsredirect and
.bzredir support, fixed various redirection issues and more
- Arto Huusko <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided fixes cgi-bin
- Roland Illig <email@example.com> provided some off-by-one fixes
- Zak Johnson <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided cgi-bin enhancements
- Nicolas Jombart <email@example.com> provided fixes for HTTP basic autho-
- Antti Kantee <pooka@NetBSD.org> provided fixes for HTTP basic autho-
- Thomas Klausner <wiz@NetBSD.org> provided many fixes and enhancements
for the man page
- Mateusz Kocielski <shm@NetBSD.org> fixed memory leaks, various issues
with userdir support, information disclosure issues, added support
for using CGI handlers with directory indexing, found several secu-
rity issues and provided various other fixes
- Arnaud Lacombe <alc@NetBSD.org> provided some clean up for memory
- Johnny Lam <jlam@NetBSD.org> provided man page fixes
- Dennis Lindroos <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided a cgi-bin fix
- Jared McNeill <jmcneill@NetBSD.org> added support for readme in
- Julio Merino <jmmv@NetBSD.org> Added the -P option (pidfile support)
and provided some man page fixes
- Luke Mewburn <lukem@NetBSD.org> provided many various fixes, includ-
ing cgi-bin fixes and enhancements, HTTP basic authorization support
and much code clean up
- Sunil Nimmagadda <email@example.com> provided runtime TLS version
- Rajeev V. Pillai <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided several fixes
for virtual hosting and directory indexing and fixes for CGI
- Jeremy C. Reed <reed@NetBSD.org> provided several clean up fixes, and
man page updates
- Scott Reynolds <scottr@NetBSD.org> provided various fixes
- Tyler Retzlaff <email@example.com> provided SSL support, cgi-bin
fixes and much other random other stuff
- rudolf <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided minor compile fixes and a CGI content
- Steve Rumble <email@example.com> provided the -V option
- Jukka Ruohonen <jruoho@NetBSD.org> provided support for blocklistd(8)
- Thor Lancelot Simon <tls@NetBSD.org> enhanced cgi-bin support
- Joerg Sonnenberger <joerg@NetBSD.org> implemented If-Modified-Since
- Kimmo Suominen <kim@NetBSD.org> removed obsolete .bzdirect handling
- ISIHARA Takanori <firstname.lastname@example.org> provided a man page fix
- Holger Weiss <holger@CIS.FU-Berlin.DE> provided http authorization
- <email@example.com> provided chroot and change-to-user support, and
other various fixes
- S.P.Zeidler <spz@NetBSD.org> fixed several SSL shutdown issues
- Coyote Point provided various CGI fixes
There are probably others I have forgotten (let me know if you care)
Please send all updates to bozohttpd to <firstname.lastname@example.org> for inclusion
in future releases.
bozohttpd does not handle HTTP/1.1 chunked input from the client yet.
NetBSD 10.99 Sep 12, 2023 NetBSD 10.99